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President Lincoln further Arraigned. His Autocratic Sway and ‘want of principle.’

[For the cogent ‘letter’ of Dr. Minor, the accomplished writer referred to in the conclusion of this communication, see ante, pp. 65-170.—Ed.]

A letter of the subscriber, published in the Richmond Dispatch of the 14th of January, proved by quotations from President Lincoln's most respectable and most eulogistic biographers that Lincoln was habitually indecent in his conversation; that he was guilty of grossly indecent and still more grossly immoral conduct in connection with his Satire called ‘The First Chronicle of Reuben’; that he was an infidel, and was, till he became candidate for the Presidency, a frequent scoffer at religion, and in the habit of using his good gifts to attack its truths; that he was the author of ‘a little book,’ the purpose of which was to attack the fundamental truths of religion, and never denied or retracted any of these views.

That letter further stated that it would be as easy to prove, from precisely the same sort of evidence, that Lincoln's character and conduct provoked the bitterest censure from a very great number of the most distinguished of his co-workers in his great achievements, among whom may be named Greeley, Thad. Stevens, Sumner, Trumbull, Zach. Chandler, Fred. Douglas, Beecher, Fremont, Ben. Wade, Winter Davis and Wendell Phillips, while the most bitter and contemptuous and persistent of all Lincoln's critics were Chase, his Secretary of the Treasury and Chief Justice, and Stanton, known ever Ziace as his ‘great War Secretary.’

This letter is intended to prove what is alleged in the last paragraph, [366] and to give some further evidence of the estimate of Lincoln entertained by his contemporaries. Such light is needed, for the paean of praise that began with his death has grown to such extravagance that one of his eulogists, on his birth-day last week, taught that he is ‘first of all that have walked the earth after The Nazarine,’ and another asked us to give up aspirations for a Heaven where Lincoln's presence is not assured. Every author quoted or referred to in this letter is an ardently eulogistic biographer and a partisan of the North against the South.

Colonel A. K. McClure's Lincoln and Men of the War Time, says (page 225, et seq.):

Greeley was in closer touch with the active, loyal sense of the people than even the President himself,” and ‘Mr. Greeley's Tribune was the most widely read Republican journal in the country, and it was unquestionably the most potent in modelling Republican sentiment. * * * It reached the intelligent masses of the people in every State in the Union, and Greeley was not in accord with Lincoln.’ * * * Greeley ‘was [page 289, et seq.] a perpetual thorn in Lincoln's side, * * * and almost constantly criticised him boldly and often bitterly.’ ‘Greeley * * * labored [page 296] most faithfully to accomplish Lincoln's overthrow’ in his great struggle for re-election in 1864. See also pages 282 to 292, et seq. See Morse's Lincoln, Vol. I, page 193. None will deny that Greeley ardently hated slavery and loved the Union, and was unsurpassed for purity and patriotism.

Dr. J. G. Holland's Life of Lincoln (page 469, et seq.), shows Fremont, Wendell Phillips, Fred Douglas and Greeley as leaders in the very nearly successful effort to defeat Lincoln's second election. The call for the convention for that purpose, held in Cleveland, May 31, 1864, said that ‘the public liberty was in danger;’ that its object was to arouse the people ‘and bring them to realize that, while we are saturating Southern soil with the best blood of the country in the name of liberty, we have really parted with it at home.’

McClure's Lincoln, etc., conceding the hostile attitude towards Lincoln of the leading members of the cabinet, says (page 54):

‘Outside of the cabinet the leaders were equally discordant, and quite as distrustful of the ability of Lincoln to fill his great office. Sumner, Trumbull, Chandler, Wade, Winter Davis, and the men to whom the nation then turned as the great representative men of the new political power, did not conceal their distrust of Lincoln, [367] and he had little support from them at any time during his administration.’

Dr. Holland's Life, etc., shows (page 476, et seq.), that when Lincoln killed, by ‘pocketing’ it, a bill for the reconstruction of the Union, which Congress had passed, Ben Wade and Winter Davis, aided by Greeley, published in Greeley's Tribune of August 5th ‘a bitter manifesto.’ It charged that the President, by this action, ‘holds the electoral vote of the rebel States at the discretion of his personal ambition,’ and that ‘a more studied outrage on the authority of the people has never been perpetrated.’ An examination to-day of the official record of the electoral vote by which Lincoln got his second term, fully verifies the above charge. Nicolay and Hay's Abraham Lincoln, and General Benjamin F. Butler's autobiography (the title is Butler's Book), alike concede the fictitious pretense of a State that was counted as casting the vote of the State of Virginia in the electoral college, and similar farces were played in the case of others of the ‘rebel States,’ just as foreseen by Wade and Henry Winter Davis. This accounts for the much boasted majority recorded by the electoral college in Lincoln's favor, and the small majority, as officially recorded, of votes of the people. Mc-Clellan, on a platform that said the war must stop, got eighty-one per cent of the votes that were cast for Lincoln. This was the vote of the people of the ‘loyal’ States, in spite of the fact that criticism of the Administration was, by order of the War Department, treason, triable by court martial, and that a man so enormously popular in his State (Ohio) as Vallandigham lay under sentence of banishment, a punishment new to this country and imposed for a new offense, ‘not for deeds done but for words spoken,’ to use the words in which it was denounced by John Sherman, and these words spoken in public debate and received with wild applause by thousands. Soldiers ruled at the polls. Butler's Book (pages 754 to 773) gives full particulars of the large force with which he occupied New York city and shows how completely he controlled its vote and its opposition to the war and to emancipation that had lately been demonstrated in its great anti-draft riot. This ‘riot’ had countenance from the Governor (Seymour) and the Arch-Bishop (Hughs), as Nicolay and Hay elaborately describe in their Abraham Lincoln; and Gorham, in his lately published Life of Stanton, says that if the battle of Gettysburg, then raging, had been of opposite result, New York would not have submitted.

Lincoln refused to listen at all to the Southern commissioners, [368] Clement C. Clay, Jr., and James P. Holcombe, unless they could show ‘written authority from Jefferson Davis’ to make unconditional surrender. Greeley, who had procured their coming to negotiate for a cessation of the war, protested against Lincoln's action as follows, in a letter written him in July, 1864 (see Holland's Life, etc., page 478): ‘Our bleeding, bankrupt, almost dying country longs for peace, shudders at the prospect of fresh conscriptions, of further wholesale devastations and new rivers of human blood; and there is a widespread conviction that the Government and its supporters are not anxious for peace, and do not improve proffered opportunities to achieve it.’ He further intimates (page 482) the possibility of a Northern insurrection.

Ben Perley Poore, in Reminiscences of Lincoln, collected and edited by Allen Thorndyke Rice (page 248), shows Beecher's censures of Lincoln, and so do Beecher's editorials in the Independent of 1862. Hapgood's Abraham Lincoln quotes (page 164) Wendell Phillips about Lincoln, ‘Who is this huckster in politics? Who is this county court lawyer?’ Morse's Lincoln (Vol. I, page 177) gives severe censures of Lincoln by Wendell Phillips. McClure's Lincoln, etc., records in two places (pages 112 and 259) the reprobation of Lincoln by Thad. Stevens, ‘The Great Commoner.’ Miss Ida Tarbell, in McClure's Magazine for 1899 (page 277), calls Sumner, Wade, Winter Davis and Chase ‘malicious foes of Lincoln,’ on the authority of one of Lincoln's closest intimates, Leonard Swet, and in the same magazine for July, 1899 (page 218, et seq.), says: ‘About all the most prominent leaders * * * were actively opposed to Lincoln,’ and mentions Greeley as their chief. McClure's Lincoln, etc. (page 54, et seq.), shows the hostility to Lincoln of Sumner, Trumbull and Chandler, and of his Vice-President, Hamlin.

Fremont, who, eight years before, had received every Republican vote for President, charged Lincoln (Holland's Life, etc., page 469, et seq.,) with ‘incapacity and selfishness,’ with ‘disregarding personal rights,’ with ‘violation of personal liberty and the liberty of the press,’ with ‘feebleness and want of principle,’ and we find (page 470, et seq.,) quoted from a letter of Fremont: ‘Had Lincoln remained faithful to the principles he was elected to defend, no schism could have been created and no contest could have been possible. * * * The ordinary rights under the Constitution and laws of the country have been violated;’ and he further accused Lincoln of ‘managing the war for personal ends.’

Seward has been much criticised, and accused of rare presumption, [369] for a letter that he wrote to the President, as Secretary of State, one month after his first inauguration, because the letter manifested a sense of superiority and condescendingly offered his advice and aid. It is probable that Seward did feel something of the contempt for Lincoln that his brethren in the Cabinet—Chase and Stanton—never ceased to express freely for Lincoln, and very frequently showed to his face throughout their long terms of office. Like them, Seward was a man of the highest social standing and of large experience in the highest public functions. It was only after Lincoln's death that any one accounted him a gentleman, much less a hero or a saint. Stanton constantly spoke of him as ‘The Great Original Gorilla.’ What he was capable of, in morals, manners and personal habits, is illustrated (see the letter above referred to, ante, pages 165-173) by the story of ‘The First Chronicle of Reuben.’ He annoyed General McClellan by very frequent visits at his headquarters in Washington, after being repeatedly treated with most humiliating slights there. These details are given by his most unqualified eulogists of all—Nicolay and Hay—and called proofs of their hero's humility, but there is a much more obvious way of accounting for them. Whether Seward's letter gave offense or not, it suggested the policy that Lincoln adopted, which policy was his means of precipitating the war which he, almost alone, desired. The astuteness of that policy has been much commended by his eulogists as something without which neither the success of the war nor the emancipation would have been possible. The policy advised in Seward's letter is, ‘Change the question before the public from the one upon slavery for a, question upon Union or Disunion.’ The letter did not come to light for years, and Seward might well say, as he did, that Lincoln ‘had a cunning that was genius.’ See Don Piatt, in Reminiscences of Lincoln (page 487).

McClure's Lincoln, etc., says (page 9): ‘Chase was the most irritating fly in the Lincoln ointment.’ Miss Ida Tarbell, in McClure's Magazine for January, 1899, says: ‘But Mr. Chase was never able to realize Mr. Lincoln's greatness.’ Nicolay and Hay's Abraham Lincoln says (Vol. IX, page 389), about Chase: ‘Even to comparative strangers, he could not write without speaking slightingly of the President. He kept up this habit to the end of Lincoln's life.’ Volume VI, page 264, says: ‘* *But his attitude towards the President, it is hardly too much to say, was one which varied between the limits of active hostility and benevolent contempt.’ [370] Yet none rate Chase higher than Nicolay and Hay do for talent, character and patriotism.

McClure's Lincoln, etc. (page 150, et seq.), says: ‘Stanton had been in open and malignant opposition to the Administration only a few months before.’ This was in January, 1862. ‘Stanton [page 155, et seq.,] often spoke of and to public men, military and civil, with a withering sneer. I have heard him scores of times thus speak of Lincoln, and several times thus speak to Lincoln.’ * * * ‘After Stanton's retirement from the Buchanan Cabinet, when Lincoln was inaugurated, he maintained the closest confidential relations with Buchanan, and wrote him many letters expressing the utmost contempt for Lincoln.’ * * * These letters, given to the public in Curtis' Life of Buchanan, speak freely (see Hapgood's Lincoln, page 254,) of ‘the painful imbecility of Lincoln, the venality and corruption which ran riot in the government,’ and McClure goes on: ‘It is an open secret that Stanton advised the revolutionary overthrow of the Lincoln government, to be replaced by General Mc-Clellan as military dictator.’ * * * ‘These letters published by Curtis, bad as they are, are not the worst letters written by Stanton to Buchanan. Some of them were so violent in their expression against Lincoln * * * that they have been charitably withheld from the public.’ Whitney, in his On Circuit with Lincoln (page 424), tells of these suppressed letters. See, too, his pages 422 to 424, et seq., and Ben Perley Poore, in Reminiscences of Lincoln (page 223), and Kasson, in Reminiscences of Lincoln (page 384), all in confirmation of Stanton's estimate and treatment of Lincoln. Hapgood's Abraham Lincoln refers (page 164) to Stanton's ‘brutal absence of decent personal feeling’ towards Lincoln, and tells of Stanton's insulting behavior when they met five years earlier, of which meeting Stanton said that he ‘had met him at the bar, and found him a low, cunning clown.’ (See Ben Perley Poore, in Reminiscences of Lincoln, page 223.) Miss Ida Tarbell, in McClure's Magazine for March, 1899, tells the story of this earliest manifestation of Stanton's contempt for Lincoln.

McClure's Lincoln, etc. (page 123, et seq.), says: ‘Lincoln's desire for a renomination was the one thing ever apparent in his mind during the third year of his administration,’ and he draws a pitiful picture (pages 113 to 115) of Lincoln as he saw him, in fits of abject depression during a considerable time after his second nomination, when he and all the leaders of the Republican party thought his defeat inevitable. Don Piatt depicts (Reminiscences of Lincoln, page [371] 493), in curious contrast to the above, Lincoln's extraordinary insensibility to the ills of others.

After such an array of the concessions against him quoted and referred to above, it is worth while to repeat the statement about those authors that is made in the third paragraph of this letter, and to add that every one of them is shown, in his book quoted or referred to, to be an ardent admirer of Lincoln and a partisan of the North against the South. To reconcile their concessions with their admiration is not the duty of the writer of this letter. There are some unconscious betrayals of their estimate of their hero that are very significant. A number of these eulogists have thought it worth while to declare very expressly their belief that Lincoln did not purposely betray General McClellan and his army to defeat in the Seven Days Battles before Richmond. McClure (page 207) is one; Holland (page 53, et seq.) is another; and John Codman Ropes declares it, in his Story of the Civil War, Part II (page 16), and reaffirms his belief on more than one other page. McClellan, in his celebrated dispatch after his retreat, reproached Stanton with this atrocious crime, and so worded the dispatch that he imputed the same guilt to Lincoln. McClure, in his Lincoln, etc. (page 202), and Nicolay and Hay, in their Abraham Lincoln (pages 441, 442 and 451), deplore that McClellan should have believed Lincoln capable of it, both conceding to McClellan the most exalted character, ability and patriotism. See McClure's Lincoln, etc. (page 208), and Nicolay and Hay's Abraham Lincoln (Volume VI, page 189, et seq.)

This letter will also appear in the Richmond Dispatch, as did that of the 14th January last.

Charles L. C. Minor. 1002 McCulloh St., Baltimore.

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